The “myth” of the developer’s land bank demystified by a study, …



He looked at how the pipeline of housing development sites compares to what might be needed to meet the government’s ambitions of an additional 300,000 net homes per year across England.

The report – “Tracking Progress,” the second step of Lichfields’ research – would offer a “deep” review of monitoring data to establish what happened to building permits granted in just one of five base years. local planning authority (LPA) case studies over a five-year period.

A number of APLs – Central Bedfordshire, London Borough of Wandsworth, Cheshire East, Colchester, and Stratford-on-Avon – have been chosen to provide geographic distribution and a mix of types of authority areas.

“None of our analysis suggests (at least outside of London) a systemic failure in converting building permits to development by industry,” the report says.

“The planning and development process is complicated and involves risks, the mismatch between the building permits granted and the production of housing on an annual basis is easily explained by the simple question of the time it takes to move forward. development through regulatory stages, the risks associated with small site deliveries (and by small builders), the overall phasing of construction on larger sites and the role of the planning system (via new building permits ) to facilitate changes to planned development patterns to reflect practical requirements.

Paul Brocklehurst, chairman of the LPDF, said the research highlights “the blatant oversimplification of the Local Government Association’s frequently cited analysis in the national press and by many politicians” regarding the stock of untested consents. artwork.

“Building on Lichfields’ initial Taking Stock report, this latest analysis highlights the desperate need for an increase in short-term planning permission if we are to meet the government’s goal of building 300,000 new homes. per year, ”he commented. .

“The white paper process on government planning has exacerbated the impact of the pandemic on the functioning of the planning system, causing many LPAs to suspend, delay and abandon their local plan process.

“This, combined with the pressure on the PLA’s planning resources, has led to signs that planning permissions for new sites suitable for all home builders may be on the decline. Urgent action is needed to ensure that the housing construction industry, in addition to the workforce and supply chain challenges it faces, does not face short-term disability. to replenish its land. ”

He continued, “We fully appreciate that the new Secretary of State for Upgrade, Housing and Communities wants to carefully consider responses to proposals in last year’s White Paper on Planning before taking any decisions. critical political decisions. However, we call on the government to quickly clarify the changes it proposes to make to the current planning system, so that local authorities can start producing their local plans again, land can be allocated for much-needed housing, and that l The development industry can continue to meet the government’s target of 300,000 new homes per year.

“Provided that the LPAs and the private sector can react positively, we are convinced that confidence in the planning system can be restored.

With this in mind, the LPDF called on the new housing secretary, Michael Gove, to consider taking measures to improve the efficiency of the existing system in the direction of the “quick” fixes contained in its action plan published earlier this year. in summer, all of which can be issued without recourse to primary law.

“We should all strive to respond to the housing emergency that exists in this country to provide all generations with the opportunity to have a place they can call home. Maybe then we can say that we are really making progress, ”added Brocklehurst.

Andrew Whitaker, director of planning at HBF, insisted that “this myth that the homebuilders land bank has been dismissed by a growing number of independent reviews.”

“As this latest research shows, aggregating the number of outstanding building permits misses the ‘history’ of each site proposed for development,” he said.

“The problems with the planning system remain the biggest obstacle to providing desperately needed housing for industry and government housing ambitions. Instead of hiding behind the misleading figures produced by the LGA each year, local planning authorities must respect the responsibilities imposed on them by the planning system.

Taking a very broad approach, the research sponsoring organizations stated that when looking at the number of units that have obtained any type of authorization (both full and summary) in a given year, after five years , we can expect roughly:

  • 3 to 5% of households having obtained the authorization will lapse or stagnate;

  • 10 to 15% of authorized households will be replaced subsequently by a new authorization (and not necessarily affecting the pace of delivery;

  • 35 to 50% of the authorized dwellings will have been delivered;

  • 35% to 50% of the authorized homes will remain existing but on sites delivered gradually beyond five years.


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